Australian basketball icon Andrew Gaze has lauded the inaugural National Pro Combine in Melbourne as an unprecedented opportunity to review available young and import talent.

The Combine, organised by W Sports and Media in conjunction with Australia and New Zealand Basketball Scouts, is in its second and final day of exposing non-contracted potential players to NBL coaches and scouts.

It has followed the Worldwide Invitational Camp model, run annually in July in conjunction with the NBA's Summer Pro League in Las Vegas.

Gaze, Sydney Kings' newly-appointed coach, said having so much talent under one roof at the State Basketball Centre was an enormously positive development for the league.


"It's great, fabulous, such a great concept," the five-time Olympian and seven-time league MVP said.

"Whether it's players from the SEABL or state leagues, to have them all in one place is fabulous."

Gaze, who attended today's sessions with his new assistant and former Melbourne Tigers running mate Lanard Copeland, and Kings director Jeff Van Groningen, said player agents regularly flooded clubs with information about potential personnel.

"But you never really know (about a player) until you get to see them," he said.
"This (Combine) gives us a chance to do that."

Imports from several second-tier competitions and players looking for a possible shot at an NBL contract have kept club scouts busy.

"It's an amazing concept," Illawarra Hawks assistant Eric Cooks said.

Cooks and fellow assistant Matt Flinn are in attendance, along with Adelaide 36ers coach and concept originator Joey Wright. Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United also have checked out the burgeoning talent on display.

"We've seen three or four players who could make it (in the NBL) right now," Cooks said.
"We're all here looking for that diamond in the rough."

West Adelaide Bearcats guard Joel Spear has more than held his own, Wright already earmarking the 192cm South Australian guard for a development player role in his Sixers program "unless he picks up a contract, which he easily could."

"He's been shooting the ball very well and plays to his strengths," Wright said.

Star SEABL import Jeremy Kendle, represented by Closer Sport which has had David Wolfe and Shane Heal here scouting players, also has attracted interest.

Adelaide 36ers' three-time NBL championship coach Phil Smyth is hosting the event, which has been endorsed by the league and promises to be an important annual feature on the playing calendar.

"I wish this had been around when I was a player," Flinn said.

Smyth said the Combine's value immediately would skyrocket if three or four players succeeded in securing NBL contracts.